5***** STARS AT ALLMUSIC

May 1, 2015

 

"...The Piano Sonata No. 18 in G major, D. 894, and the Piano Sonata No. 16 in A minor, D. 845, are among Schubert's final masterpieces, and they challenge the performer to find the sustained lyrical tone at their core that unifies them and transcends the narrower strictures of Classical form. Lifits certainly shapes the sonatas with graceful phrasing, a hallmark of Classicism, but he is just as sure to connect with the internal emotions that give these works their eloquence and Romantic, songlike feeling. Of course, these long pieces require concentration and complete control to be convincing, and Lifits plays with an assured touch that allows him to extend lines and moods as long as he wishes. Considering the length of each movement -- the first movement of D. 894 alone is over 20 minutes -- having this ability to spin out melodies with connectedness is a gift, and Lifits is generous with it in these sublime performances."

 

 

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